November 4, 2023

Adams Jr. scores five majors in first career playoff victory

Jimmy Jeong/

VANCOUVER — Vernon Adams Jr. went out five hours before kickoff to warm up for the game against the Calgary Stampeders in the Western Semi-Final, one hour for every touchdown he would eventually score.

The veteran pivot came out on fire and tallied four majors just in the first half in the eventual 41-30 BC Lions win over the Stampeders on Saturday at the BC Place.

Adams Jr. wanted to make the most out of his second playoff game of his career, first with the Leos, but was concerned after his week of practice didn’t go according to the high standards he holds for himself.

“I was so motivated,” said the quarterback to TSN’s Farhan Lalji. “I’m not gonna lie to you all. I didn’t have the best practice week, our defence was picking me off and it was very frustrating, but I locked in with my preparation. I trusted the process.”

» Depth Charts: CGY | BC
» Gallery: Stampeders at Lions
» Box Score: Calgary at BC by the numbers



Adams Jr. totalled 467 yards of total offence (413 passing, 54 rushing) to go alongside two passing and three rushing majors. His favourite target was receiver Keon Hatcher who finished with nine catches for 195 yards and a touchdown. The veteran passer was looking for his first career playoff victory and seemed intent on showcasing his ability as a runner, at one point rushing for a first down on first-and-20 to keep the chains moving for the Orange and Black.

It seemed there was some extra motivation for the pivot’s success on the ground though.

“My dad was here,” said Adams Jr. “He was going to get on me if I didn’t get some yards, so I used my feet.”

The Lions aerial attack has dominated all season long with Adams Jr. leading the CFL in passing yards over the course of the regular season. Another side of their success through the air is a receiving group that features names like Hatcher, Alexander Hollins, Dominique Rhymes, Justin McInnis and Lucky Whitehead.

Hatcher now has 490 yards over his last four games but isn’t surprised with the success of the passing offence under the tutelage of the veteran signal-caller.

“Big-play VA,” said the receiver to Lalji after the game. “We expect it from him, he expects it from myself. He came out and did what he did. Can’t be more proud of him.”

It’s the second straight year the Lions beat the Stampeders in the Western Semi-Final to advance to play the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Western Final. The Leos are now hoping for a different result after a Nathan Rourke-led team lost 28-20 last season.

“They have been one of the best over the last few years,” said Adams Jr. about the matchup with the Bombers. “We have to go against a great defence over there. Zach (Collaros) has got those guys together. Brady (Oliveira) is doing his thing. We have to come to work this week, watch this film and just get better and ready to go out there and play against some of the best fans in the country.”

BC and Winnipeg square off on Saturday, November 11, at IG Field for a chance to play in the 110th Grey Cup.

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